According to Celeste Headlee, an award-winning journalist, professional speaker, and best-selling author of We Need to Talk, – there are many different strategies that can help us cultivate meaningful conversations. Whether you’re struggling to communicate with your child’s teacher, your boss, your neighbor, or someone you love, Headlee offers smart strategies that can help us have conversations that matter. Some of her strategies to consider as we are reconnecting include:
Use open-ended questions…
Start your questions with who, what, when, where, why or how. Try asking questions like “What was that like?”, “How did that feel?” This is a great tool to use when you’re feeling stuck in conversations and allows you to keep the conversation flowing.
Go with the flow…
That means thoughts will come into your mind and you need to let them go out of your mind. This allows us to express our authentic selves.
If you don’t know, say you don’t know…
We’re all human and cannot possibly know everything. Sometimes when you’re honest about what you know vs. what you don’t, you’re met with opportunities to learn.
with the intent to understand. By doing this we are denying room for miscommunications and allowing space for meaningful conversations.
To learn more ways on how to have more meaningful conversations, check out Headlee’s Ted talk: Watch Here
Another tool you can utilize during conversations is humor!
For example, someone asking “What have you been up to?” answering with a joke like “Oh About 5’2.” It keeps the conversation lighthearted and allows you to choose the direction you’d like to take within the conversation. Humor is both a source of entertainment and means of coping with difficult or awkward situations and stressful events. Humor is known to aid in forming social bonds and releasing tension. Plus who doesn’t enjoy a good laugh?
How to step out of conversations…
Exiting out of conversations can be difficult at times. You may be wondering things like: How do you end a conversation? Who has the right to end it?
Here are some ways to step out feeling good about your exit! (Because your last impression is just as important as your first impression!):
Check your watch
This action shows that you need to head out due to the time.
Rephrase the last thing they said and let them know you have to wrap up
“Your trip sounds so fun, wish we could talk more, but I need to run.”
Include a time constraint
“I have to get going in about 15 minutes to make it to XYZ on time.
“Please excuse me…I have XYZ to work on.”
Leave them to what they were doing
“Nice chatting with you! I’ll leave you to do your work now.”
For more ways to end a conversation, check out:
62 Ways to Politely End a Conversation In ANY Situation